Pregnancy Ginginvitis

What is Pregnancy Gingivitis?

Occasionally a red lump or “overgrowth” develops on the gums – usually near the upper front teeth. These are called pregnancy tumors and they are not cancerous or contagious. If you have a pregnancy tumor you should contact your dentist, but most of these lumps disappear after the baby is born.

How often does Pregnancy Gingivitis occur? 

Between 60% and 70% of women experience pregnancy gingivitis.

Why is it important to manage pregnancy gingivitis?

Managing pregnancy gingivitis is important so that it doesn’t progress into a more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis. Periodontitis can lead to serious oral health problems that could require surgery or lead to tooth loss. Your overall health – as well as the health of your baby – can be affected by the health of your teeth and gums. Some research has even shown a connection between poor gum health and premature delivery.

What can I do to prevent pregnancy gingivitis?

Controlling plaque is the most important thing you can do to prevent problems with pregnancy gingivitis. A strict home care routine of proper and meticulous plaque removal should start even before you are pregnant. Not all oral care products are the same, so be sure to choose a toothpaste and mouthwash designed to treat plaque and gingivitis. Also try a soft power brush to make plaque removal easier.

Oral care tips for a healthy pregnancy:

  • Don’t skip regular check-ups at your dental office
  • Use a soft power toothbrush and floss gently to prevent injury to delicate gum tissues
  • Use an antigingivitis/antiplaque toothpaste twice a day and floss daily
  • Rinse with an alcohol-free antigingivitis/antiplaque mouthwash
  • Rinse your mouth after a bout with morning sickness to keep acids from affecting your teeth and gums
  • Follow a healthy diet including plenty of calcium, phosphorus, protein, and vitamins A, C and D. Talk to your obstetrician about the need for vitamin supplements.

X-rays During Pregnancy

Are X-Rays safe during pregnancy?

Dental X-rays, especially today’s digital versions, are extremely safe and use very little radiation. As a precaution, dentists use lead aprons to cover reproductive organs so that radiation doesn’t have the chance of affecting the cells inside of them (which would lead to atypical conditions in offspring.) Due to the cumulative effects of radiation, dental staff make a habit of stepping outside of the room when X-rays are taken.   That being said, they’re still quite safe. In fact, a person will get more radiation from spending a day out in the sun on the beach or on an airplane flight across the country than they would a set of full mouth dental X-rays at their dentist’s office.

Why would I need a dental x-ray while pregnant?

Active dental infections don’t resolve on their own. In many situations, professional dental care is needed before the situation becomes more complex…or worse, spreads to other areas of the body.   Since most dental procedures can’t be completed without the use of an X-ray, pregnant women who are experiencing tooth pain or oral infections can still safely rely on getting X-rays to diagnose and treat their condition.   When you do, your dentist will still use a lead apron to shield any scatter radiation from reaching your developing baby.

Which trimester is best?

Some experts recommend that if you’re going to avoid X-rays, the best time to do so would be your first trimester. However, it’s generally considered safe to see the dentist at any point. That being said, many women feel uncomfortable laying back during their third trimester, due to the baby’s size. If you’re planning to get pregnant, it’s best to go ahead and catch up on any dental work that you need to have done, or plan to get it completed by your second trimester. In fact, current research shows that women who have trouble conceiving — and have active gum disease — may conceive more quickly once their periodontal infection is treated.

Dental Care in Childhood

When do baby teeth fall out?

As exciting as a milestone as it is, the age in which it happens can vary from one child to the next. Some children get teeth earlier than their siblings and other children lose teeth later than their peers. Everything from a child’s age to their gender can play a role. Generally speaking, most children lose their first tooth around age six. If you have a child in kindergarten or first grade, tooth loss is just one of many firsts they’ll be experiencing. Age six is also the time where the first adult teeth start to come in: the ones replacing the baby teeth about to fall out, as well as permanent molars near the back of their mouths. Girls typically get their teeth sooner than boys.

What is exfoliation over time?

When a dentist talks about teeth falling out, they use the term “exfoliation.” This process of teeth coming in and shedding starts at the front of the mouth, working its way back. Although teeth start falling out around age six, it’s not until most children are around 12 years old when the final baby teeth fall out. That means when it’s time for junior high, most of the baby teeth will be long gone.

When do the last teeth come in?

Although the last baby tooth falls out sometime in late middle school, your child’s adult smile is still forming. Erupted adult teeth may not have fully developed roots quite yet, which is why some types of dental procedures are avoided until they’re older. Wisdom teeth generally start to make an appearance sometime during high school or college. But it’s not uncommon for young adults well into their late 20's to experience the uncomfortable stages of a wisdom tooth coming through.

Is your child’s smile on track?

In specific situations, some children’s teeth don’t fall out without a little…intervention. For example, certain types of disorders may prevent baby teeth from resorbing (shrinking) when they’re pressed on by the adult tooth. This situation can lead to the permanent teeth becoming impacted and a host of orthodontic problems. If that’s the case, they may need to have their family or pediatric dentist extract the tooth on a certain schedule. In other instances, a lack of a tooth falling out could indicate a developmental irregularity or a missing tooth (which isn’t as uncommon as you may think.) To ensure your child’s smile is developing properly, be sure to see a dentist at least every six months, starting around your son or daughter’s first birthday. With regular oversight, a host of unwanted dental complications can be avoided.

What causes crowded or crooked teeth in children?

Crowded or crooked teeth mainly occur when the teeth coming into your child’s mouth are larger than the space available in the jaws. Erupting teeth will follow the path of least resistance. If there is not adequate space for them to come in straight, they will rotate, overlap, and become crooked. Genetics is often a factor.

Are crowded or crooked teeth normal in children?

Crowded or crooked teeth can be a normal part of a child’s development. Jaw bone development and tooth development may not happen at the same rate or time. A size discrepancy between the adult teeth and the baby teeth can also lead to crowded, crooked teeth. As your child grows, the teeth are better able to fit properly in the mouth.

How do I manage my child’s crowded or crooked teeth?

It is recommended that your child be evaluated by their dentist when crowded or crooked teeth are a concern. Orthodontic treatment may be necessary if normal jaw growth does not provide enough room for teeth to straighten out.

What will happen if I do nothing about my child’s crowded and crooked teeth?

If you do nothing about the crowding and/or crooked teeth, there is a good possibility the teeth may stay that way. Other than the compromised appearance of crooked teeth, a person’s bite and chewing can be affected by misaligned teeth. Abnormal wear on the teeth and jaw pain may result. Crowded teeth may cause an adult tooth to become impacted and never grow into the mouth properly. Occasionally, adult teeth may have to be removed to make space to straighten the remaining teeth. Crowded teeth may also be difficult to keep clean. Orthodontic correction at the appropriate age can help guide the adult teeth into the mouth for proper fit, function, and appearance.

Is fluoride good for children?

Over the past several decades, fluoride use has significantly reduced the rate of tooth decay in children. Cavities remain to be one of the main childhood diseases and a common reason for missed school days. But tooth decay can also impair a child’s speech development, self-esteem, appearance, and overall wellness. Fortunately, fluoride can help. When used properly, this natural mineral promotes healthy teeth that are more resistant to tooth decay and sensitivity. But like any type of supplement or vitamin, there comes a point where you can have too much of a good thing. That’s why fluoride levels are strictly regulated in municipal water sources and within oral health products.

What do dentist recommend about flouride use for children?

Today, dental research supports the use of a rice-sized smear of fluoridated toothpaste when brushing baby teeth. At this small of an amount, any accidental ingestion is safe. Too much could cause an upset stomach, so save the “pea sized” amount for when your child is old enough to rinse her mouth well. Professional fluoride applications are recommended twice a year, usually during your child’s checkup and cleaning appointment. This treatment remineralizes any weaker outer enamel that’s been exposed to acids or sugars, strengthening it against potential tooth decay.

Is it possible to get too much fluoride?

 Yes. Any excessive mineral or vitamin intake can be harmful, no matter your age. In children it’s especially important because their teeth are still developing. In areas where fluoride is naturally high in the soil, special filtration may be needed. If you are on a well water system, it’s important to ensure that fluoride levels comply with state or federal mineral guidelines, so that steps can be taken if it is too high or too low. If too little, teeth and bones can be extremely weak; too high, excessive mineralization can cause unsightly brown coloration and pits within the mature enamel.

When should I get a prescription for my child?

Prescription fluoride use is usually only needed when children have suffered from extensive decay in the past (meaning that the bacteria are still active inside of their mouths,) take certain types of prescriptions due to underlying medical conditions, are developmentally impaired, or undergoing orthodontic treatment. The type of fluoride prescription that’s best for your child’s situation will be something that you want to discuss with your family’s dentist. It may be in the form of a rinse, gel that’s brushed on before bed time, or a paste used in lieu of your child’s normal toothpaste.

What is a lip tie?

Lip ties — much like tongue ties — involve natural anatomy that keeps the lips from having a full range of motion. The labial frenum is a tiny strip of skin just inside of the lip, where the center of your lip attaches to the jaw. It ties into the mouth just below the two center teeth, on both the upper and lower arches. Generally, the frenum is loose enough that a baby or child can nurse, suck on a bottle, eat table foods, and learn to speak without an impediment. But in instances where that small strip of skin is too tight, all of those normal life skills can be challenged.

What is a natural lip tie correction?

As uncomfortable as it sounds, most children with a tight labial frenum will eventually bump or fall, naturally tearing the tissue and loosening up the lip. But sometimes that just isn’t the case, or the tissues are too tight that professional intervention is necessary.

What is the treatment for a lip tie?

A lip tie treatment may be needed as early as 2-3 days old in an infant, or when a child is about to enter school for the first time. It depends on the symptoms noticed by parents and pediatricians. For example, your newborn baby is especially fussy and isn’t soothed when eating. She’s losing weight and your doctor recommends pumping or supplementing with formula in a bottle. She won’t drink it. Upon examination, your pediatrician, midwife, pedodontist or family dentist observes a tight strip of skin just inside of her lip. It turns out she’s lip tied. By loosening the labial frenum, your baby can free up her lips for a better latch. She’s immediately able to take in more milk, feel satisfied, and grow. Depending on your doctor’s capabilities and equipment, the actual lip tie treatment is a fairly straightforward process. Numbing may not even be necessary! In less than a minute, the skin can be trimmed away and your baby can comfortably eat.

Why is my child having trouble speaking?

Sometimes lip ties aren’t apparent until a child is much older. If your son or daughter is in middle school and requires speech therapy for a lisp or speech impediment, your speech therapist may recommend a labial frenectomy. For older children, a bit of numbing gel or even local anesthetic may be needed. The skin can be trimmed or lasered away. Recovery time is minimal, and there’s no post-operative care needed. Your child will need to use special exercises to stretch and train their lips to extend, also preventing the skin from adhering back into place.

What is a tongue tie?

Tongue ties prevent the tongue from being able to have the full range of motion that they ought to. A loose frenum allows the tongue to move further upwards or out of the mouth. If a person has restricted tongue movement, a tongue tie is likely to blame. The lingual frenum is the strip of skin just under your tongue. It attaches somewhere towards the middle-to-anterior belly of the tongue (hence the name “lingual”) to the floor of the mouth. Lingual frenums vary from person to person. In some cases, they can be extremely short. When such is the case, a “tongue tie” exists.

Why is my infant struggling to nurse/feed?

Generally speaking, tongue ties are often observed when newborn babies are only a few days old. This occurrence is due to problems nursing or sucking on a bottle. The baby may seem irritable, spit up frequently, need to eat more often, or appear colicky. A lactation consultant, pediatrician, or pediatric dentist are usually the first professionals to confirm whether your newborn’s lingual frenum is the cause of their feeding woes.

Does a tongue tie impair natural speech patterns?

Tight skin under the tongue can alter speech patterns. When a person is unable to move their tongue freely to form various shapes, their language skills are directly impacted. If your child has an undiagnosed tie, it will likely become more evident as they age and develop better language skills. An apparent speech impediment should always take tongue anatomy into consideration as part of the speech therapy plan. Seeing a dentist regularly and making them aware of your language development concerns offers a prime opportunity for tongue tie screenings.

What are cleft concerns?

Severe tongue ties can pull on the tip of the tongue so much, that it begins to cleft at the end. Clefting looks like a visible cut or fork at the tip of the tongue. Most tongue clefts only occur in instances of severely tight lingual frenums.

How does a tongue tie get fixed?

To fix a tongue tie, the tight frenum needs to be released. A portion of the skin is removed, leaving a looser and thinner frenum behind. Traditional frenectomies are where a tongue tie is “clipped” or essentially trimmed back with a small tool. Local anesthetic to numb the area may or may not be needed, depending on the age of the patient. This method is very straightforward and still used today. Laser frenectomies are an alternative to conventional treatment and typically more comfortable to the patient. Using a soft tissue laser, the tissue is released while the outermost layer of skin is gently cauterized. This process significantly reduces swelling, eliminates bleeding, and greatly improves post-operative discomfort.
Preston Dental Clinic Saskatoon Dental Care in Childhood

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